MORRISON: A Spelling Tutorial

by Lisa Nesselson

In his friendly and informative article "The Definitely Complete Paris Guide for Jim Morrison Fans," author Rainer Moddemann states that very early in the morning is the best time to visit Jim's grave because the spot where Jim rests is "the fourth most visited monument in Paris" after, per Moddemann, the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame cathedral and the Pompidou Center. (Moddemann may have borrowed this figure from Dylan Jones who, in his 1990 biography, says of Morrison's grave: "Paris's fourth most popular tourist attraction is certainly an underwhelming sight.")

Although the cramped rectangular plot situated in the 6th Division of Pere Lachaise cemetery (2nd row, grave number 5) unquestionably attracts fans and tourists year 'round, it seems to me that this specious statistic should be taken with a grain of salt as big as the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre.

While describing the nightlife in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, Rainer also has inadvertently written a brilliant sentence. "Jim loved this quarter of Paris, which was absolutely hip with students and insiders in 1971 in the late Sixties, " Rainer writes on page 39 of The Doors Quarterly Magazine, issue 34.

Nothing could be truer. Nineteen seventy-one was the VERY late Sixties, but the trippy notions and sensibilities that characterized the decade still flourished.

In the Summer 1996 special issue of LIFE magazine devoted to "The Baby Boom Turns 50", the only musicians listed among the "50 most influential boomers" are Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, and -- if one counts The Blues Brothers -- John Belushi. Jim just missed boomer status and it took him a while to work his way up to dead dignitary status, as least insofar as the authorities at Pere Lachaise cemetery are concerned.

For many years, Jim did not figure on official maps and guards would sometimes feign ignorance when asked for directions to Morrison's grave. Now he is on the enamel billboard-style maps, identified as "Morisson, Jim -- chanteur de rock" (rock singer). Some would probably rather see, "poet" or "lyricist" or "rebel", but the cemetery is full of talented dead people and each tenant gets only one line. Of course, most of them also get their names spelled correctly.

Call Usher

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